IS THERE A GOOD WAY TO LOVE THE RULES?
YOUR WORD IS A LAMP FOR MY FEET, A LIGHT ON MY PATH. — PSALM 119:105
Our verse this month was written by a rule-lover—one who has blown up my category for rule-lovers, a wonderful example of how we can love rules well (be sure to catch the teaching episode on the Dwell Differently podcast this Thursday for more surprising discoveries from this rule-lover). Unlike the rule bludgeoning I have a tendency to enact at times, our psalmist loves the rules in honest humility, confessing his inability to keep them. He loves them not because they’re his rules, but because they reflect the righteous ways of the loving Rule-giver, who alone pardons our errors with his righteous salvation. This is the kind of rule-lover I want to be, one who longs to express my love for the Rule-giver by walking in his wise, life-giving ways, and leading my people in humble gentleness to do the same. So, as we consider our verse this month, a verse that encourages us to walk in the words of our God, I want to show you three benefits of doing so. And I hope they will move your heart to love his rules more too.
We should love God’s words and ways because we’re lost without them.
I loved reading “choose-your-own-adventure” books as a kid. And our verse tells us that our lives can feel very much like those books—we’re constantly making decisions to go this way or that, follow this path or the other. And though our paths vary widely, deep down, we all want the same thing—success. We want lives of purpose, joy, and goodness. However, unlike those “choose-your-own-adventure” books, there’s no peeking ahead to help us pick the right path in life. We possess a shocking lack of foresight, and we often find ourselves lost and uncertain, paralyzed by the weight of our decisions, not sure which path to choose. We find ourselves in the dark, needing a light for our path, a guide who knows the way. Our verse tells us that God’s Word is that light, showing us the path we should take.* The God who knows all things, even the future, knows the way we should go, and his Word shows us the way. And when I consider that truth, it makes me love the guidance he gives me in his Word.
We should love God’s words and ways because they are good.
God not only knows the end of every possible path, he also loves us and intends for us to walk along good paths—paths he’s prepared for all who would follow him. The Bible speaks to God’s intentionality for our lives saying, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV). We can be assured that God himself, who made us and loves us, has also laid out good paths for us to walk in. And while there are times when we might come up against his words and his ways and want to pick our own path, we know when we try this, it’s always a debacle. But when we walk in the path that he illuminates in his Word, we can say with the psalmist, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them” (Psalm 119:140). When we follow God’s words and ways, we love them, because we know firsthand how good they are.
We should love God’s words and ways because they are merciful.
As much as we affirm that we are lost in the dark without God’s ways, and as much as we may have personally experienced the goodness of walking in his ways, the truth is that we are helpless to keep them on our own. Even our rule-loving psalmist knows this to the core. He says, “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands” (Psalm 119:176). He cries out to the Lord to come and find him, for he has wandered away from God’s commands. And he knows the only one who can bring him back is God himself. Thankfully, the God who prepared a path for us and lights it with his Word is the same God who searches for his lost sheep and puts them back on the path of life and safety—the path that leads to him. This, my friend, is the mercy of our loving Father. He will never leave us or forsake us, but will always pursue us. Even when we are faithless, he is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). He will put our feet back on the path each and every time we stray. Even when we fail to love God’s ways as we should, our merciful God restores us when we come to him in repentance. This is good news!
How have you seen God guide your path with his words and ways?
How does his merciful restoration make you love his guiding principles even more?
*What about when there are two good paths before us—neither going against God’s Word? This is a great question, one we don’t have space to answer here. But we’ll answer it later in the month as we continue to dig into this verse. Be sure to catch my interview with Lauren McAfee on the podcast (releasing Thursday, January 12th) for a really helpful discussion on how we discern God’s will.
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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